Calbuco volcano erupts in Chile, and nearby town evacuated

Volcano Spews Giant Tower of Ash in Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - The Calbuco volcano erupted Wednesday for the first time in more than 42 years, billowing a huge ash cloud over a sparsely populated, mountainous area in southern Chile.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of the 1,500 inhabitants of the nearby town of Ensenada, along with residents of two smaller communities.

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Calbuco Volcano, Chile
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Calbuco volcano erupts in Chile, and nearby town evacuated
View from the Nahuel Huapi lake, province of Rio Negro, 1570 km southwest of Buenos Aires, of a menacing cloud from the Calbuco volcano in neighbouring Chile, on April 22, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava.  (Photo credit: Francisco Ramos Mejia/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Instagram/KathyHornig)
(photo credit: Instagram/Daniel Palma)
(photo credit: Twitter/Camilo Oyarzo)
View from Frutillar, southern Chile, showing volcanic lightnings and lava spewed from the Calbuco volcano on April 23, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
This view from Puerto Varas, southern Chile, shows a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 23, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/DAVID CORTES SEREY/AGENCIA UNO (Photo credit should read DAVID CORTES SEREY/AFP/Getty Images)
View from Puerto Varas, southern Chile, of a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 22, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/GIORDANA SCHMIDT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE (Photo credit should read GIORDANA SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
View from Puerto Montt, southern Chile, of a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 22, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/ATON CHILE/Diego MAIN CHILE OUT (Photo credit should read Diego Main/AFP/Getty Images)
LLANQUIHUE, CHILE - APRIL 22: The Calbuco volcano erupts on April 22, 2015 near Puerto Varas in the Llanquihue Region, Chile. The volcano, considered as one of the most potentially dangerous in Chile, erupted for the first time in more than 42 years. It generated a huge cloud of ashes which is affecting the South of Chile and Argentina. (Photo by Ivan Konar/LatinContent/Getty Images)
LLANQUIHUE, CHILE - APRIL 22: The Calbuco volcano erupts on April 22, 2015 near Puerto Varas in the Llanquihue Region, Chile. The volcano, considered as one of the most potentially dangerous in Chile, erupted for the first time in more than 42 years. It generated a huge cloud of ashes which is affecting the South of Chile and Argentina. (Photo by Ivan Konar/LatinContent/Getty Images)
View of the road to San Carlos de Bariloche, province of Rio Negro, 1570 km southwest of Buenos Aires, with a menacing ashes cloud from the Calbuco volcano in neighbouring Chile, on April 22, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/FRANCISCO RAMOS MEJIA (Photo credit should read Francisco Ramos Mejia/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch from Puerto Varas, southern Chile, a high column of ash and lava spewing from the Calbuco volcano, on April 22, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/GIORDANA SCHMIDT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE (Photo credit should read GIORDANA SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
(photo credit: Instagram/Pablo Sanchez)
(photo credit: Instagram/Rob Hodgson)
A man distributes masks to prevent the harmful effects of the Calbuco volcano ashes, in Puerto Varas, on April 23, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man distributes masks to prevent the harmful effects of the Calbuco volcano ashes, in Puerto Varas, on April 23, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man wears a mask to prevent the harmful effects of the Calbuco volcano ashes, in Puerto Varas, on April 23, 2015. Chile's Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday, spewing a giant funnel of ash high into the sky near the southern port city of Puerto Montt and triggering a red alert. Authorities ordered an evacuation for a 10-kilometer (six-mile) radius around the volcano, which is the second in southern Chile to have a substantial eruption since March 3, when the Villarrica volcano emitted a brief but fiery burst of ash and lava. AFP PHOTO/MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The National Mining and Geology Service issued a high alert, barring access to the area around the volcano, which lies near the cities of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, a little more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Chile's capital, Santiago.

"For us it was a surprise," said Alejandro Verges, regional emergency director of the Los Lagos region where the eruption took place. He said Calbuco wasn't under any special form of observation.

Authorities said a large amount of ash was observed but no hot rocks or lava so far.

Calbuco last erupted in 1972 and is considered one of the top three most potentially dangerous among Chile's 90 active volcanos.

Related video:

Volcano Calbuco Erupts in Chile


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